Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Black Hawk County
WATERLOO – Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in Waterloo, making this the sixth location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa.
The current EAB infestation was found by city employees performing routine trimming on street trees. Further investigation found additional trees infested in a 10 square block area on the northeast side of Waterloo.
A statewide quarantine will be issued on Tuesday, restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states.
Waterloo’s urban forest includes 4,364 ash trees located on public property. The three city-owned golf courses have 649 ash trees; the 52 parks contain 725 ash trees; and there are 2,990 ash trees along the street rights-of-way.
“This is a devastating blow to Waterloo’s tree resources as we will be losing 17 percent of the trees on public property over the next few years. It will also be quite a challenge for the forestry staff to absorb these tree removals in their day-to-day duties and still provide a fraction of the services that Waterloo citizens are used to,” said Waterloo city forester, Todd Derifield.
The number of ash trees on private property in Waterloo is unknown. Property owners will be responsible for the removal of dead and dying ash trees.
“Preventive treatments this spring — mid-April to mid-May— are available to protect healthy and valuable ash trees within 15 miles of a known infested area,” said ISU Extension and Outreach entomologist Mark Shour.
With this latest confirmed infestation, officials moved to place Iowa in a statewide quarantine.
EAB infestations had previously been discovered in Allamakee County in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in August 2013, Cedar County in October 2013 and Union County in December 2013.
Even though Iowa has been quarantined statewide, Iowans are encouraged not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since moving firewood poses the greatest threat to quickly spreading EAB or possibly other pests even further.
According to the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and 3.1 million urban ash trees. Statewide, Iowa averages 16-17 percent ash on city property, though the ash component can be as high as 87 percent.
The Iowa DNR’s Forestry Bureau has completed 242 urban tree inventories in communities with less than 5,000 residents.
“We hope this latest infestation will motivate communities that have not taken an inventory of their forestry resources, to do so very soon,” said state forester Paul Tauke.